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Erica Jong

Erica Jong

Posted: October 7, 2008 11:52 PM

Is John McCain Really Our Friend?


My day began with Ben Bernanke putting the American public to sleep with his woolly explanation of the financial "rescue" package. I tried to understand his logic but with my 401(k) halving then quartering, my concentration was hardly the best. George W. Bush performed the coup de grace on the Dow and the NASDAQ, making it clear to me that my husband and I would be working well into our nineties. What excellent preparation for the Obama/McCain debate!

Why are these debates so incredibly boring? Is it the questions framed by committee? Is it Tom Brokaw trying to exude gravitas? Is it John McCain telling us constantly he is our friend while he grimaces in a way that is friendly to no one? Or is it Barack Obama keeping his cool despite all the idiotic lies and provocations?

My admiration for Obama has grown. Not only for his lucid intelligence, his excellent preparation, his understanding that eight years of deregulatin' dudes (as Sarah Palin might put it) has accelerated this financial mess, but also his amazing ability not to grunt, sigh or punch his opponent. When McCain lies with a straight face and pretends he has never had anything to do with the GOP, I'd slug him. But Obama is a prince among debaters. He just smiles elegantly and awaits his chance for a reasonable response. His calm blows me away. I'd hate to debate him. I'd be raising my voice and tearing my hair (as we did at Jewish dinner tables on the Upper West Side when I was a kid) but he'd be cool as the proverbial cucumber. He will make a great president. His temperament is superb.

McCain looks old and ill to me. He seems to have no circulation under his papery white skin. He always looks like he is suppressing a fart. He has no cool at all. Even though he tried to correct his curmudgeonly reputation tonight, he was unconvincing. It seemed as if he had taken a Valium and it was wearing off. I wouldn't trust him to look into Vladimir Putin's eyes anymore than I trusted George W. Bush. He's the bomb-bomb King, no question. Erratic and rageful, condescending and insincere, he seemed to be auditioning to play Simon Legree in an antebellum bodice ripper.

And why did he run from the stage while Michelle Obama and Barack greeted the folks? Was he afraid of retribution? Or possibly a hair transplant?

Or maybe I just mistrust men with comb-overs.


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